Forbes: 17 Star Hotel Chefs Share Their New Year Resolutions
Chefs are around food all the time. So as 2019 takes off, I tapped executive chefs across the USA at Loews Hotels & Co. to discover their best resolutions for more food-loving happiness this year.
TEACH KIDS HOW TO COOK
Ken Harvey, executive chef, Loews Ventana Canyon Resort, Tucson: "My resolution this year is to start a kids' cooking 101 class at my house, one day every month, for Austin, my 14-year-old son, and his friends. I want to teach young men how to cook and to help build their confidence."
DANCE INTO SHAPE
Thomas Harkins, executive chef, Loews Philadelphia Hotel: "To get into better shape, eat more vegetables and fish. I also want to restart ballroom dance lessons with my wife. We did it years ago and had so much fun!"
COOK UP MARRIAGE FUN
Mark L. Ching, executive chef, Loews Hollywood Hotel: "I am blessed to be married to a self-driven food and beverage fanatic. Laurel and I have vowed to scour our prodigious collection of cookbooks and recreate one recipe every week. This provides me with an opportunity to teach techniques and methods not known to her, while gaining an appreciation for a recipe that might be utilized in another form, in another environment. She just flat-out loves to cook, so the knowledge gained, along with the confidence from trying and succeeding, is personally rewarding to us both!”
AIM FOR IMAGINATION
Serge Devesa, executive chef, Loews Regency New York Hotel: "I am going to eat more natural, organic and meatless foods. I also wish to eat at more three-star Michelin restaurants, which use great products. The chefs have tons of imagination and creativity!"
REV UP RESTAURANT ROMANCE
Olivier Senoussaoui, executive chef, Loews Boston Hotel: "To eat out more with my lovely wife, which has been very hard to do with working and parenting kids. To visit my family in France and Japan. And to take care of myself – eat better, exercise more and commute less!"
PLAN DELICIOUS WANDERLUST
Olivier Gaupin, corporate chef for Loews Hotels & Co. and executive chef at Loews Atlanta Hotel: "I have several food goals for 2019. A family reunion in Brittany, France, which has the best seafood in the world and cows that produce the best cheeses and butter. This annual childhood vacation spot is where my love of food really blossomed, and I’m finally going to bring my wife and kids to experience it. I’m a big fan of food culture in Southeast Asia, so I want to make it to the street food market in Hong Kong, and more locally hit up new dim sum spots in NYC’s Chinatown. I’m also excited to check out the new French restaurants on the rise in Atlanta. Finally, I need to stop eating chocolate croissants! They’re incredible, but I put butter on mine and need to cut back!"
MAKE THE MOST OF COOKBOOKS
Tommy Hines, executive chef, Loews New Orleans Hotel: "I have a huge collection of more than 300 cookbooks and books about food – from the Joy of Cooking and The Geometry of Pasta to Alinea and Fernand Point’s Ma Gastronomie, along with a diverse international selection and regional American classics. So my food goal for 2019 is to cook one dish from each of these books. Realistically, that may take me well into 2020, but I’ve set this challenge for myself and it should prove to be a lot of fun. I’m also positive my friends and family will enjoy the challenge immensely!"
Leon Teow, executive chef, Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando: "To focus more on creating 'Adam and Eve' cuisine — foods derived from the earth and prepared in such a way that embraces their natural flavors and nutritional benefits. I was born and raised in a small village on Penang Island, Malaysia, where people attribute their long life spans to eating sustainably, such as picking vegetables from their garden and buying their meat straight from a farm. I hope to incorporate more of this kind of food into my lifestyle — to strike a balance between good food and food that is good for you."
TRAVEL FOR INSPIRATION
Matt Lange, executive sous chef, Loews Chicago Hotel: "I am reinvesting in my overall approach and appreciation for the cultural influences that dictate the style of food I enjoy cooking in my personal and professional life. I would like to travel to food destinations such as Spain, Italy and Morocco to gather a deeper appreciation for these cuisines and be able to put the gathered experiences on a plate for my family and friends."
MAKE HEART-HEALTHY CHOICES
Benjamin Closson, executive chef, Loews Hotel 1000 Seattle: "To be more consistent with eating light, fresh, healthy foods. Too often after a long shift late at night, I steer toward something quick and easy, which usually means heavy and unhealthy. This year: more fresh raw vegetables, grains, salads and legumes. As an athlete, I consume a lot of calories, but I am focused on making better choices — consuming less meat, fatty foods and refined sugars. Heart health and sustainable practices are crucial for longevity in my career."
CREATE FAMILY TRADITIONS
Frederic Delaire, executive chef, Loews Miami Beach Hotel: "When I was age 4 until 12, my mom made me a birthday cake that she called a yogurt cake. It’s a simple pound cake made with yogurt. You use a yogurt glass or cup as a measuring device. Every year, the cake was presented to me simply, still in the baking mold, with candles on top. It’s very different from kids' birthday cakes now. It’s a bit ugly to look at, but brings back so many memories. Over the years, the cake evolved into different shapes, sizes and flavors. Sometimes my mom would flavor it with orange zest or add chocolate. And sometimes she would forget to add baking powder and I’d get a super-flat version of the cake! As a 2019 resolution, I've decided to start making the yogurt cake for Stella, my 7-year-old daughter. In doing so, I want to teach her how to make it and keep the tradition alive!"
BE EAGER TO EXPLORE AND EXPAND SKILLS
Howard Ko, executive chef, Loews Regency San Francisco Hotel: "I want to go to Michelin-starred and other respected restaurants every six months and guest cook — so that I can further learn and pick up trends from around the world."
FIND YOUR FLOUR POWER
Chris Aguirre, executive chef, Loews Coronado Bay Resort, San Diego: "I am processing wheat flour at home. I mill my own flour from organic and local wheat berries.”
GROW FOOD KNOW-HOW
Zachary Dallessandro, executive chef, Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel: "I recently set up an indoor garden with artificial lights and a hydroponic grow wall system. I have lettuces, strawberries, various herbs, beets, heirloom baby carrots, micro greens, raspberries and even a dwarf Valencia orange tree. I am using this system to teach my children the process and time it takes to grow produce; the health benefits of organic versus GMO and chemical pesticides; and why it is so bad to waste food and how all of this impacts our environment. Hopefully, they will be at the forefront of the healthy organic movement for our future generations."
EMBRACE YOUR COMMUNITY
Gavin Pera, executive chef, Loews Vanderbilt Hotel, Nashville: "My family recently moved to a small town outside Nashville, where my two oldest boys play for their high school varsity football team. It’s such a close-knit community, and the small school is constantly looking for ways to raise money for its athletics program. Since my family loves to BBQ, a tradition we’ve done since our kids were little, my food goal in 2019 is to donate my time and expertise to help raise money for new equipment – and do some good for our community. We plan to slow cook everything from pork to homemade sausages over a wood fire until it melts in your mouth."
INCREASE POSITIVE HABITS
Robert Oberschneider, executive chef, Loews Chicago O'Hare Hotel: "To continue my constant search for healthier, sustainable food options and exercise."
CREATE HEALTHIER FOOD
Timothy Fischer, executive chef, Loews Minneapolis Hotel: "I am committed to focus on subsistence living. I plan to use my property not only to farm crops — cultivated mushrooms as well as wild mushrooms — but also to raise prized Mangalica pigs, lamb, chicken and pheasants. I am planting with our many wild animals on property, such as grouse, turkey, rabbit and white-tailed deer in mind. I am setting up a trout/panfish pond for readily available fresh fish. My goal is to live more off the land and to help the animals get important nutritional needs so that they can live healthy, happy lives. In turn, this helps put a better wild harvest on our tables. I am currently in the process of setting up a butcher shop on property so that I can see the animals go full circle."